Symposium Practices of Privacy

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Oproep voor bijdragen

Ter ere van het Symposium Academiae Beglicae van 2022 nodigen wij u uit om een abstract in te dienen tot en met 11 september 2022. Het onderwerp van het symposium is het gebruik van dialoog in domeinen van vroegmoderne kunst en wetenschap. Via dit symposium doelen we een methode te onwikkelen om de overblijfselen van dialoog in te zetten voor privacy studies. Een volledige omschrijving, alsook verdere instructies voor de submissie van een voorstel vindt u in de volgende link:

Dit hybride symposium berust op een samenwerking met het Centre for Privacy Studies van de Universiteit van Kopenhagen, en vindt plaats in Rome tussen 30 november en 2 december 2022, aan de Academia Belgica, KNIR en de Deense Academie.

Niccolò dell’Abate’s “Eros and Psyche” van Thomas Hawk is gelicentieerd onder CC BY-NC 2.0. Om een kopie van deze licentie te bekijken, gaat u naar


Appel à contribution

A l’occassion du Symposium Academiae Beglicae 2022, nous vous invitons à soumettre un abstract au plus tart le 11 septembre 2022. Le sujet du symposium est l’utilisation du dialogue dans les domaines de l’art moderne et de la science.

Avec ce symposium notre objective est de développer une méthode pour utiliser les vestiges de dialogue avec le but de acquerir information sur la privactié dans l’époque moderne. Une description complète, ainsi que des instructions supplémentaires pour soumettre une proposition, se trouvent dans le lien suivant:

Ce symposium hybride est organisé en collaboration avec le Center for Privacy Studies de l’Université de Copenhague, et aura lieu à Rome entre le 30 novembre et le 2 décembre 2022, à l’Academia Belgica, KNIR et l’Académie Danoise.

“Eros et Psyché” de Niccolò dell’Abate par Thomas Hawk est sous licence CC BY-NC 2.0. Pour voir une copie de cette licence, visitez


Invito per contributi

In occasione del Symposium Academiae Belgicae del 2022, vi invitiamo a presentare una proposta di contributo al più tardi l’11 settembre 2022. Il tema del simposio è l’uso del dialogo nei campi della prima arte moderna e della scienza. Attraverso questo simposio cerchiamo di sviluppare un metodo per l’utilizzo di alcuni elementi del dialogo all’interno degli studi sulla privacy. Una descrizione completa, nonché ulteriori istruzioni per presentare una proposta, sono disponibili al seguente link:

Questo simposio ibrido è una collaborazione con il Center for Privacy Studies dell’Università di Copenaghen e si svolgerà a Roma dal 30 novembre al 2 dicembre 2022, presso l’Academia Belgica, il KNIR e l’Accademia danese.

“Eros and Psyche” di Niccolò dell’Abate, fotografato da Thomas Hawk, è concesso in licenza CC BY-NC 2.0. Per visualizzare una copia di questa licenza, visita



About the Symposium Practices of Privacy

Dialogue has always been the backbone of knowledge. The Greeks and Romans used dialogue and banter as tools for philosophical explorations. During the early modern period, dialogue was employed to communicate and kindle knowledge. Leonardo da Vinci’s conversational efforts during his lifetime (1452–1519) were disregarded by other scientists because he essentially lacked the official credentials of formal education. In 1659, John Evelyn wrote to his colleague Robert Boyle about his vision for the ideal institution for the exploration of natural knowledge. He described a place where intellectuals could observe and discuss natural phenomena. Beyond the material needs for research, it should include a routine of shared meals and designated conversation hours. But sometimes dialogues about knowledge did not obtain the desired results.

Early modern sources frequently use the dialogue format as a vehicle to spread knowledge. Think, for instance, of artistic or scientific manuals or exchanges between correspondents of the Republic of Letters. Dialogues of knowledge are frequently connected to places, such as artists’ discussions in cafés or salons, humanist discussions in academies, academic debates in universities, or oral transmission of knowledge between masters and apprentices of all kinds, from printers to metalworkers. Knowledge, therefore, depends on conversations located in places to be created, transformed, and disseminated, but the social mores and physical boundaries of the places where these dialogues occur shape which aspects of the created knowledge are shared or kept private and how they are altered during transmission.

Where can we find privacy in dialogue, and what do we mean by privacy? Derived from the Latin privatus, privacy is an elusive concept that has been defined in many different ways. Broadly, we understand privacy as “a human phenomenon that is to do with experiences of withdrawal, boundary drawing, and control of access” (Birkedal Bruun, 2021). As such, we resist any simple definition and rather seek to explore the meaning of expressions of this phenomenon for different people in different cultures and times. What makes a conversation private may have to do with practical, personal, professional or religious needs or desires of the interlocutors, the place where it takes place, or cultural norms, values and practices.

Although the vast majority of private conversations in the past have left no record, historians can use a variety of methods to gain insights and understanding of the concerns and interests of early modern interlocutors. These methods can shed important light on the contribution of private dialogues to the exploration and creation of knowledge.

Private conversations of the past rarely leave traces, and many times historians must analyse their sources against the grain to look for vestiges of these exchanges – or to find hints of privacy within recorded ones.

Following up the 2020 event Practices of Privacy: Knowledge in the Making, which launched the “Practices of Privacy” symposia, the 2022 edition will explore how dialogue can be a mediator for the development of ideas in all kinds of areas of human interest during the early modern period (c. 1400–1800). We are interested in how dialogue, privacy, and space intersect in the history of knowledge.

This hybrid symposium is a collaboration between the Academia Belgica and the Center for Privacy Studies of the University of Copenhagen and will take place in Rome from 30 November to 2 December 2022, at the Belgian Academy, the Royal Netherlands Institute and the Danish Academy. Online participation will also be possible.

For more information regarding this symposium, please contact Dr. Annemie Leemans: